Melanie Sykes ‘cried all night’ after Leigh Francis made cruel joke as Keith Lemon

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Melanie Sykes has revealed how she broke down in tears following a number of "insulting comments" made by Leigh Francis while in character.

The TV presenter, 50, shared her experience working on the ITV game show Through The Keyhole in 2018 with his on-screen character Keith Lemon during a podcast with Lynne Franks on Saturday.

The model claimed that his comedy through his character Keith Lemon "gives a voice to men in the street”, during the Frankly Speaking with Lynne Franks podcast in which she felt like Leigh Francis, 48, believes “talking to women like sh*t” is funny.

As she recalled the painful event, Melanie said: “I’d been on holiday and I was happy and relaxed.

“I went into the studio and I didn’t think Keith was going to be like he was on the other show that he does [Celebrity Juice] where it’s all sex and b**w jobs and talking about people’s a**holes and all that.

“I sat there for a three-hour record and he did all of that stuff to me verbally to entertain the live audience – because it was never going to make the edit of the show, because it was a family, Saturday night show, so he used me to entertain the audience.”

“I had a Jonathan Ross to my right and Ashley Banjo to my left and the first thing that Keith said to me, in character, ‘I bet you’re a**hole smells of flowers’,” she added.

Unable to remove herself from the situation, the distressed mother was forced to endure the three-hour show to avoid negative attention.

She added: “It went form bad to worse, I kept thinking ‘What am I going to do?’

“I can’t get up and storm out because it will be all over the newspapers that I’ve walked out and it will of course be my fault, everybody in the audience has a mobile phone so they could see.

“So, for three hours, I struggled through that. I got home and I cried all night and I rang my agent in the morning and told him.”

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After Mel had time to reflect on the show, she called the head of the production company who allegedly weren’t receptive to her complaint.

She explained: “She said, ‘you’re the first person that’s ever complained about him.’ I said, ‘I don’t care’ and this was before MeToo.”

Leigh Francis, who recently made fans think he had revealed Laura Whitmore's baby name, hosted the hit show for six seasons until it was cancelled in 2020 during the height of the global pandemic.

The comedian first found success during his ITV2 show Celebrity Juice show which is now approaching its 25th series since the show began in 2008.

She concluded with: “I want respect, I deserve respect, I respect everybody else."

This comes after the star apologised for portraying black celebrities last year on his show Bo' Selecta! including Craig David and Mel B.

OK! Online has contacted Leigh Francis’ and Through The Keyhole representatives for a comment.

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